Chicago, IL

Chicago Expecting Record Marijuana Sales During Lollapalooza

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

Lollapalooza is the first huge tourist event since the legalization of marijuana in Ilinois and retailers are expecting a large spike in sales.

Lollapalooza is back and expecting at least 400,000 attendees over the four days it will be held in Chicago's Grant Park. Lollapalooza is said to be one of the largest and most "iconic music festivals in the world" and one of the longest-running in the United States. The event, which runs today through Sunday at Grant Park, is expected to attract about 100,000 attendees each day. Like most other big Chicago tourism events, such as the Navy Pier July 4th Fireworks Show and the Air & Water Show, Lollapalooza was canceled last year because of the pandemic.

With so many locals and tourists flooding the area, local retailers are looking to experience a significant jump in sales. There is no sector looking more forward to the influx of people than marijuana retailers. Marijuana sales was legalized in Illinois June 25th 2019 but didn't go into effect until Jan. 1, 2020. Many dispensaries and stores with plans to open after pot was legalized weren't able to do so before the COVID-19 lockdown occured. This included downtown stores such as Cresco Cannabis, and PharmaCann. Since they weren’t open before the lockdown, they have no ability to predict what their sales will look like during Lollapalooza.

Stores as far north as Rogers Park are even expecting their sales to increase and are preparing for crowds. Sales people at the Green Gate Rogers Park dispensary, were ready for the additional customers starting today. "People like having a good time at Lollapalooza," one sales person (who didn't want to be identified) remarked. "People from all over go to the event so we have customers bringing in friends who are visiting and new customers may decide this is a good time to try our products. Even though we are pretty far north of the concert venue, we're still expecting a bump in sales."

Big events that draw a lot of people can give weed sales a boost. Average daily sales of recreational marijuana across Illinois rose 9 percent in April, on top of a 22 percent gain in March. The increase is believed to be the result of people stocking up for April 20. April 20th or 4/20 is considered a national holiday recognizing cannabis, begun whe five high school students would meet at 4:20 by a statue of Louis Pasteur to smoke marijuana. Average sales then dropped 2 percent in May.

The Cannabis research firm BDSA said Lollapalooza could double sales for Chicago dispensaries this weekend.

"After the event was cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19, hundreds of thousands of music fans are gearing up to celebrate at Lollapalooza this weekend," the firm said in a statement. "With 36% of consumers in BDSA’s Consumer Insights survey reporting that cannabis ALWAYS plays a role in celebrations or special events, this weekend will surely mean big business for cannabis retailers in the Windy City."

Rules for Using Marijuana in Grant Park

If you intend to use legal cannabis while at Lollapalooza there are a few things to remember. First, while marijuana can be consumed legally at the festival, smoking it is prohibited according to Grant Park’s rules. There are other methods you can use to consume the product however, like vaping and eating edibles both of which will be popular at the festival. According to BDSA, 38% of people who consume cannabis products report eating gummies for the convenience they offer. Be careful of the heat however, as they can easily melt into a blob or lose cannabinoids under conditions of extreme heat. If you choose this method, bring only what you plan to consume and leave the rest at home.

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